Imperial, CA – The softball regular season came to an end Wednesday for No. 1 Palomar College, which capped off a perfect Pacific Coast Athletic Conference campaign with a doubleheader sweep of Imperial Valley.
Both wins came via the shutout as the visiting Comets prevailed, 18-0 and 14-0. Both games were also shortened to five innings by the mercy-run rule, which went into effect for the Comets’ last eight wins of the regular season and 15 of their last 19 games.
The Comets finished the regular season with a 36-1 overall record after winning the PCAC pennant by three games over San Diego Mesa with a 12-0 conference mark. The Comets will take an 11-game win streak, including the last five by shutout, into the CCCAA Southern California Regional playoffs which begin May 5.
Sophomore right-hander India Caldwell pitched a perfect game for her second no-hitter of the season in Game 1, and freshman right-hander Guilianna “Gigi” Clavel limited the hosts to just one hit in Game 2 as the Comets’ pitching staff recorded its 21st and 22nd shutouts of the season.
Caldwell retired all 15 batters she faced, including eight via the strikeout, while improving to 24-1 on the season. She was supported by a 22-hit Palomar batting assault which featured 10 extra-base hits and accounted for five runs in the first inning and eight more in the second.
Sophomore left fielder Jonessa Hebreo, sophomore pinch-hitter Alexis Ruelas and freshman right fielder Carlee Herrmann all hit home runs for the Comets. Sophomore shortstop Elisa Haas was 4-for-4 at the plate with four singles and three RBIs, freshman third baseman Itzell De Los Rios had two doubles and a single worth three RBIs, freshman second baseman Sarah Vega had a triple and two singles, sophomore first baseman Malachy Russell-Millen had a triple and a double, sophomore catcher Ellison Hazlett had a triple and a single, Hebreo also had two singles in addition to her home run, and Herrman had a single in addition to her homer.
Clavel improved to 12-0 on the season with her one-hitter in Game 2. She walked none and struck out 10, retiring the first 13 batters she faced before allowing a one-out double in the fifth inning for IVC’s only baserunner of the day.
The Comets scored two runs in each of the first two innings before pulling away with five runs in the third. Palomar collected 16 hits, including three apiece by Herrmann and Haas. De Los Rios added a pair of triples, freshman right fielder Maraiah Diaz had a triple and a double, and Hebreo had two singles.